What Were the Disagreements at the Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was a milestone event in American history. It was held in Philadelphia from May 25 to September 17 and was attended by 55 delegates from 12 of the then-13 states. These delegates had come together to amend the Articles of Confederation, which was the governing document of America at that time. However, they soon realized that the Articles needed to be replaced, and that the creation of a new constitution was necessary.

As with any event of this magnitude, there were disagreements among the delegates, many of which were significant enough to require compromise. Following are some of the main disagreements that arose during the Convention:

Representation in Congress

One of the primary points of disagreement at the Convention was the issue of representation in Congress. The larger states wanted representation to be based on population, whereas the smaller states wanted equal representation for all states. The Great Compromise, also known as the Connecticut Compromise, was eventually reached. This compromise led to the creation of a bicameral legislature, where representation in the Senate was equal for all states, while representation in the House of Representatives was based on population.


Another contentious issue at the Convention was slavery. The Northern states were strongly against the institution, while the Southern states were in favor of it. The Three-Fifths Compromise was eventually reached, which counted three-fifths of the slave population as part of a state`s total population, thus increasing their representation in Congress.

Executive Power

Delegates also disagreed on the extent of executive power. Some wanted a strong executive branch, while others were concerned about creating a monarchy. This led to the creation of a system of checks and balances, where each branch of government had the power to limit the powers of the other branches.

Bill of Rights

The Constitution did not initially contain a Bill of Rights, which led to disagreements among the delegates. Some felt that individual rights needed to be protected, while others argued that such rights were already protected by the state constitutions. The Bill of Rights was eventually added to the Constitution in 1791, protecting important individual liberties such as freedom of speech, press, and religion.


Overall, the disagreements at the Constitutional Convention were numerous and complex. The delegates were able to work through their differences and come to a compromise that created a system of government that has lasted for over two centuries. The issues that were contentious then, such as representation, slavery, executive power, and individual rights, are still important topics of discussion today, showing the enduring impact of the Convention on American history.